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North Yorkshire raiding party hoping for a Golden time at Ayr
NORTH YORKSHIRE trainers supply 11 of the 27 runners in tomorrow’s William Hill Ayr Gold Cup and Richard Fahey, who is three-handed in Scotland’s premier sprint, is fancied to scoop the lion’s share of the £155,000 prize with Baccarat, the mount of his former long-time stable jockey Paul Hanagan.
Winner of two of his four races this season, Baccarat clinched last month’s historic Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon in the style of a progressive sprinter.
The four-year-old has since been raised 7lb, but that may not be enough to stop him in his tracks as he bids to provide Fahey with a second Gold Cup triumph, seven years after Fonthill Road captured the spoils with Hanagan in the saddle.
Kevin Ryan has won the race no fewer than three times, including in each of the last two years. The Hambleton trainer is represented by a powerful four-strong team this time, which includes last year’s winner Captain Ramius, who will relish the rain-softened ground. Lightning Cloud, although better known as a seven-furlong horse, ran well enough over this shorter trip at York recently to suggest he could be on the premises.
Darlington-based Micheal Dods (Mass Rally and Spinatrix), Mick Easterby (Hoof It) and David O’Meara (Louis The Pious) make up the North Yorkshire raiding party, which is nothing if not a formidable-looking force.
Fingers are crossed that the cards fall the way of nap selection Baccarat to lead home the vast field in this ultra-competitive handicap.
The William Hill Silver Cup, for horses which failed to make the cut in the main event, is no easier to solve. Once again, North Yorkshire trainers are heavily represented, but it may be that a trainer from South Yorkshire takes the spoils, courtesy of Doncaster-based David Griffiths with Take Cover.
Narrowly beaten in the Stewards’ Cup consolation race at Goodwood on his belated seasonal debut, Take Cover will love the easy ground at Ayr and is expected to run a huge race.
Scotland’s bumper card offers opportunities galore to local handlers, not least John Quinn, who has double prospects with his Lincoln winner Levitate (4.25), who ran well at Doncaster last week, and the versatile Cockney Sparrow (5.35), who shaped well on her comeback outing at Newcastle.
At Catterick, the £20,000 2013 Catterick Twelve Furlong Series Final Handicap takes pride of place. Whatever Fahey’s fate in Scotland, the Malton trainer has good prospects here with recent winners, Dolphin Village and Bayan Kasirga in the nine-strong field. Slight preference is for the last-named, the mount of Neil Farley.
Also worth noting are the Brian Ellison-trained Estinaad (3.20), who ran well at Goodwood last time, and Sally Friday (5.05), who is overdue a winning turn.
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